“Astroturfing” in politics might not be anything new, but it’s been getting pushed to new extremes in the early days of the Donald Trump administration.
It’s the slang term for the “attempt to create an impression of widespread grassroots support for a policy, individual, or product, where little such support exists,” according to The U.K. Guardian. And there was plenty of it in Mexico City this week.
As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security Gen. John Kelly visited Mexico on Thursday, protesters were in the streets voicing their dislike for President Donald Trump and the U.S. in general, according to Mogaznews.
A spontaneous, grassroots protest? Hardly. The organizer of the protest was the Democrat Party itself, according to The Daily Caller.
Mexico’s chapter of Democrats Abroad — “the official Democratic Party arm for the millions of Americans living outside the United States,” according to its website — organized a demonstration against Tillerson and Kelly, who traveled to Mexico at Trump’s behest to improve relations between the two countries.
Prior to Tillerson and Kelly’s arrival, the group posted an alert on the Action Network website, putting would-be protesters on notice that unless they were granted a meeting with Tillerson, there would be a mass demonstration.
“If we are not given a meeting with Secretary Tillerson we will deliver a letter to the U. S. Embassy at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, and will hold a quiet and respectful demonstration on the public space in front of the embassy. Mark your calendar and be ready to to attend on a moment’s notice,” the bulletin said.
Among other things, the proposed letter said, “The idea of building a wall … frames Mexico and Mexicans as foreign invaders,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
The group’s reach is far and wide, but if you connect the dots, its web of smoke and mirrors becomes transparent. Doug Hall is an employee of Democrats Abroad, according to Mexican website The News. He was also listed as the meeting demand/protest event organizer and the author of a petition regarding it on MoveOn.org.
Tillerson and Kelly had serious business in Mexico. Trump’s relationship with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is less than cordial, and the U.S. has been trying hard to find common ground while making it clear that the U.S. southern border wall and deportation of illegal aliens are high priorities for Trump and his administration.
The Dems’ protests are about more than free speech and the right to peaceable assemble (allowable under the Mexican Constitution, article 9). They seemed engineered to disrupt Trump’s agenda at every turn possible — even on foreign soil.
The controversy between the U.S. and Mexico has not been without political benefit for Peña Nieto himself. While his approval rating of 17 percent is the lowest recorded for any Mexican president, according to The Huffington Post, having Trump as a common adversary has helped him rally the voters behind him, according to Time.
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H/T Fox News